Monday, May 19, 2008

A Greener Memorial Day BBQ

Can I tell you how much I'm looking forward to this weekend? Indiana Jones. The unofficial start of summer. Our local pool opens. No little league game at 9am on Saturday morning or karate at 10:30am. A bbq on Saturday afternoon to go to and another one on Monday afternoon. 

Yes, two bbq's. We're not hosting either of the bbq's, but at some point over the summer months, we will have a bbq or two in our own backyard. I'm coming up with a list of things to do now so I can share them with you who are having cookouts this weekend, and I'll have it ready when I have my own.

  • If you can, use cloth tablecloths and napkins, and durable plates, utensils and cups. Sure it will take a while to wash it all, but think about all the plastic cups and utensils that will be going into landfills after this weekend. Do you really want to add to that.
  • If you are going to use disposable, do it wisely. Find products that are made from recycled materials or that are biodegradable. Chinette makes sturdy paper plates that are made from recycled materials and are completely compostable after they are used. You can usually find them in the paper plate isle of your grocery store (note: they aren't marked as "eco-friendly" or "green." It's just their regular plain paper plates." If you want an easy, quick way to get all your more earth friendly disposables at once, try ordering them from ecoproducts.
  • Using traditional plastic wear? It doesn't have to be thrown away. Put a big bowl by the trash can with a sign on it that says, "Please put plastic utensils here." Wash them, and save them to be used again.
  • Do the plastic cup and Sharpie thing. Keep a black Sharpie by the plastic cups, and have people write their names on them so they don't use more than one cup for the afternoon. I used to hate it when people did this, but now I'm a fan.
  • Make some of your dishes from local, in season food.
  • Offer organic wine or beer choices and other beverage choices.
  • Make recycling easy - have clearly marked receptacles so people can easily put them where they belong.
  • Be a trash picker when it's all done. I know it's gross, but pick out things from the trash that shouldn't be there and put them where they should. 
  • Don't buy decorations that are going to be thrown away at the end of the evening. 
  • Let your guests know that you are trying to be more green with your bbq. If you don't let them know, it will be harder for them to help out.
  • Don't be the green, preachy police. Enjoy your event and do the best you can, but if someone uses two plastic cups, get over it.
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